A woman staged a sit-in protest against the removal of her village – basketball hoop.
Mom-of-three Georgina Dale noticed the council ripping up her local play park and wanted to try and save what was remaining.
Demolition of the only council-owned park in Yatton Keynell, near Chippenham, Wilts., started after it was neglected for years.
The children’s play area had already gone by the time she arrived.
But the 44-year-old leaped into action, armed with a camping chair and a book, sitting immediately below the basketball hoop.
Wiltshire Council contractors then fenced her off inside the court.
She said: “I moved here in 2015 and there was a play area – and that was part of the reason that I moved here.
“My children have grown up using the play area and my teenager regularly uses the basketball court.
“It’s people’s children and grandchildren. And it’s even the adults around the area that remember using the play park here as children themselves.
“Everybody is, is hugely disappointed.”
Sadly other commitments got in the way of the one-woman protest and the basketball court was ripped up and replaced with soil as soon as she left.
Georgina said she’s fought the demolition of the village’s only council-managed park, and has urged the parish council to replace it as a matter of urgency.
When asked what she wanted to achieve by the protest, she said: “I would love for them to put a stay on the basketball area, to keep that available for the time being.
“Once it’s all removed, despite some verbal assurances from the parish council, I don’t believe that the parish council will put anything in here other than maybe some plants and shrubs, which was their initial suggestion as a replacement to a play park.
“Yes, it’s easier to maintain, but it’s not an ideal replacement for the play park that the children had.”
After Georgina’s posts in a local community group, local councillor Alistair Parker issued a statement.
He wrote: “The work to remove the play equipment in Clarks Leaze has now started.
“It had been hoped that the MUGA [Multi Use Games Areas] would be retained but on closer inspection it was clear that the tarmac (not now a preferred surface) was breaking up and that if the MUGA was to be retained, a new surface would inevitably be needed.
“In the circumstances it was deemed better to remove the old MUGA and consider replacing it as part of the consultation process on the future use of the whole area.
“To allay any concerns it is fully intended that the whole area will remain available for recreational use. Once the old equipment has been removed and the ground restored we will move ahead with consulting on the future usage.”
At a parish council meeting on Feb. 5, residents were asked to write to them with ideas for the space.
Georgina is urging locals to show their support for a children’s play park – because other ideas include the installation of some shrubs and benches.
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
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